Greetings, dear readers.

As is my wont, when I publish something I’m proud of, I like to share it with you.

Here is a cover story I  wrote for the current  Isthmus , Madison’s alternative weekly newspaper, about the very active sleep research programs at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  The sleep apnea info in particular woke me up to a growing national challenge.

By any measure, Donna Pahuski takes her health seriously. At 51, she exercises at least 45 minutes each day and makes good eating choices. So when she gained 20 pounds and her sleep became increasingly restless, at first she blamed it on menopause. 

“But I thought it was interesting that after the hot flashes were gone, I was still such a poor sleeper,” she remembers. “So when I saw my doctor two years ago, I mentioned possible sleep apnea. He suggested that the easiest way to check was for my husband to watch me sleep, but he falls asleep before I do. The other option was to come in for an overnight sleep test, but I wasn’t eager to take the time, so I let it go.”

This spring, Pahuski was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy, or weakening of the heart muscle. The left side of her heart was dangerously enlarged.

“The first thing the cardiologist said was, ‘We need to test you for sleep apnea,'” recalls Pahuski. “He told me that sleep apnea would certainly accelerate my heart failure.”

So Pahuski found herself descending the sunny steps into the quiet, underground clinic called Wisconsin Sleep, part of a larger program, the UW-Madison Center for Sleep Medicine and Sleep Research, to have her sleep apnea diagnosed. Each week about 60 patients spend the night there while their sleep problems are analyzed.

Click here to read the rest.

If you’d like to read the other articles I have written for Isthmus this year:

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